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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

Medicine: Expression of the General State of Mind

Medicine: Expression of the General State of Mind

Chapter:
29 Medicine: Expression of the General State of Mind
Source:
What Is Medicine?
Author(s):

Paul U. Unschuld

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0029

This chapter provides a comparative look at Chinese and Greek medicine. Chinese medicine was created in an environment that recognized the exchange between various regional centers as the foundation of a new state organism, the unified empire. The idea of the relationships of various functional centers in the human organism was the most important feature of Chinese medicine for two millennia. In China, we have the impression that the yin-yang and five agents doctrines of the systematic relationships of all phenomena had the support and approval of part of the elite. The Greek medical theorists considered the doctrine of correspondences, but it was of less importance. The doctrines of the four elements, the four humors and a few other corresponding groups of four were kept very short. Greek medicine was created in an environment that recognized the autarchy of small political units as the foundation of a new state organism, the polis democracy. The exchange between various centers was of marginal importance. The significant thing was the individual center. The significance of relationships among individuals had less prominence in Greek antiquity compared to the emphasis on such relationships in China.

Keywords:   Greek medicine, Chinese medicine, human organism, five agents doctrine, four elements, polis democracy

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